Go ahead—type “ecosexuals” into Google. You’re likely to find a collection of strange photos featuring women trying to make out through moss face masks, men with ferns for heads embracing each other, and people looking generally aroused with pollen smeared across their face. The premise, as ecosexuals explain, is that if sex sells, maybe the market forces of ecosexuality can help save the planet.
The ecosexual community spans from artists to environmentalists to queer activists to sexologists. For some, ecosexuality is simply a private practice. Whatever the calling, one thing is for certain; eco-sexuality is taking the term “tree-hugger” to another level. Recently, ecosexuals were even officially adopted into the LGBTQ acronym at Pride, San Francisco, adding another letter to the ever expansive spectrum of alternative sexualities. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, the basic idea is that by changing the way we think about nature—as a lover, instead of a mother—maybe we can foster a deeper connection to it. Want to dabble in ecosexuality? Here are 25 ways to make love to the Earth.
According to Ecosexual Bathhouse artists Loren Kronemyer and Ian Sinclair, “For us, it has been helpful to discover the language of ecosexuality as a way to cope with the environmental moment we find ourselves in as a planet. We live in a time when our relationship to the environment creates feelings of mourning, loss, shame, fear, grief, self-loathing, and dread. In the long-term relationship with the planet, we have proven ourselves to be a species of abusers. On a personal level, it is helpful to love what is left of our ecosystem and to seek joy in a more reciprocal and consensual relationship with it.”
Ecosexual Bathhouse is an immersive artwork by Pony Express where participants learn through experience that the earth can, in fact, be your lover. The installation includes a pollination zone, a shape-shifting dominatrix, a post-capitalocene sauna, a phone-sex swamp, a geological massage parlor and custom eco-porn. “We are so intertwined with the environment through all of our senses, it seems a waste to keep it locked out of our erotic imaginations. Environmental stimuli – temperature, moisture, sunlight, energy, time, smell, sound – make up so much of the fabric our sensual memories,” says Kronemyer and Sinclair.
The eco-sex movement even has its manifesto, which you can read here. “We shamelessly hug trees, massage the earth with our feet, and talk erotically to plants.” Written by Elizabeth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle, who are performance artists from California it reads, “We caress rocks, are pleasured by waterfalls and admire the Earth’s curves often. We make love with the Earth through our senses.”
Academics have even become involved in the movement. The University of Nevada’s Jennifer Reed, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology, has aimed her dissertation on ecosexuality and those who identify as “ecosexuals”. Dr. Amanda Morgan, UNLV School of Community Health Sciences, tells Vice’s Neil McArthur about the spectrum of ecosexuals which spans nudists to “people who fuck trees.”
“We will save the mountains, waters, and skies by any means necessary,” the manifesto reads. This makes sense—there is literally no alternative to saving the planet from climate change that doesn’t lead to a Mars colony, apocalypse scenario or the abyss. While the core of ecosexuality is philanthropic, and eroticism is definitely an effective way to generate attention, I have to wonder, that of all the possible movements that could rally support for climate change, it’s difficult to see how having pretend or real intercourse with tree trunks or soil would persuade the nation’s conservatives, who still rail against alternative sexualities and the existence of climate change.
According to Sinclair and Kronemyer “The response to the environmental crisis of the scale we currently face requires a cultural overhaul. It requires reexamining the thousands of macroscopic and microscopic ways we have drifted away from symbiotic biodiversity. Ecosexual Bathhouse is about finding a mutually beneficial and equally pleasurable relationship between humans and non-humans.”
“We will stop the rape, abuse and the poisoning of the Earth.” reads the eco-sex manifesto. Kronemyer and Sinclair believe that the Earth is the longest lasting relationship that any of us will experience and the least we can do is show it a little love. But in the revelry of moss-kissing, soil-groping, and bush-cumming, has anyone stopped to wonder—do the trees really want to be fucked? Anything, I suppose, is better than getting turned into paper.